Established in 1996, Desai/Chia Architecture is an award-winning design firm led by Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia. The firm creates inspiring, customized environments that are expressive of their use & materials and tailored to their clients’ identity & lifestyle. Desai/Chia’s portfolio includes residential, retail, and commercial projects. The firm has received numerous architecture and design awards, and their work has been widely published.
We strive to design environments that express innovation and promote communication, collaboration, and community. The work of our office effectively integrates architecture, interior design, and product design. These combined disciplines form a dynamic foundation for our practice. Desai/Chia Architecture prides itself on being a multi-disciplinary firm that seamlessly blends a holistic approach to progressive design with a deep respect for light, materials, and sustainable strategies. We provide an efficient and focused design approach while informing budgeting and scheduling decisions along the way.
• Our work is driven by a belief that our surroundings influence the quality of our lives: whether in a work place, educational institution, at home or in the public realm. This emphasis on the social dimensions of the built environment are fundamental to our design approach which acknowledges that architecture is generate by the needs of a community of people. The resulting design should provide a place where that community can be inspired and thrive.
• We strive to uncover design opportunities at both the large and small scale.
• Our design process taps into the essential qualities of a site and its inherent cultural and social dynamic, and we celebrate opportunities to integrate them in every project.
• Marrying architecture with light is a hallmark of our work; this is both a sustainability strategy as well as an aesthetically inspiring one.
• We are keenly aware of a client’s financial considerations and work hard to develop schedule and budget control systems with clear phasing and deliverables. We know that inspiring and expressive design, at any scale and budget, can emerge through a thoughtful, rigorous, and collaborative process.
Imbedded in our design process is a respect for the environment and a recognition that a building’s operating costs are an important criteria in the program. Our work integrates environmental and sustainable strategies as a natural part of the design process. Although the details of each project are often very different, due consideration for the protection of the environment is a major objective in our work.
Prior to founding Desai/Chia Architecture, Arjun Desai worked at SHCA/NY on various adaptive re-use and preservation projects in New York and Washington, D.C. He earned his Master of Architecture degree from M.I.T. in 1992 and is a recipient of an M.I.T. Aga Khan Fellowship. Desai received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennington College in 1988. He is a registered architect in the state of New York.
Katherine Chia worked with artist Maya Lin on numerous architecture and art commissions before she established Desai/Chia Architecture. She earned her Master of Architecture degree from MIT in 1991. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and is a Trustee Emeriti. Chia is a registered architect in the state of New York. She is an architecture faculty member at Parsons the New School of Design and a fellow of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies.